The prime minister, interior and law ministers as well as attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) appeared in the court.
Justice Minallah remarked that he could not see the State fulfilling its responsibility.
Referring to former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, he added that a former chief executive, who ruled the country for nine years, proudly admitted in his book to selling citizens abroad.
The judge noted that this suggested that forced disappearances of citizens might have been State policy.
The IHC CJ observed that there could not be a state within a state and enforced disappearances were a violation of the Constitution.
The prime minister replied that he would leave no stone unturned to solve the cases of missing persons. He added that a missing person’s child had asked him to reunite him with his father. “This sentence was very disturbing for me. I will not waste any opportunity to fulfill my responsibility,” he maintained.
PM Shehbaz further told the court that a missing persons committee had held six meetings.
“I will monitor each meeting and submit a report to the court. The report will not be a story, but based on facts,” he added.
The judge noted that the findings of the missing persons commission were very painful. “It is the responsibility of the State to solve their [missing persons] problems,” he noted.
The IHC CJ observed that detention centres had been set up from where people have been rescued but no action had been taken. “There should not be a perception that law enforcement agencies pick up citizens. This perception affects our national security,” he remarked.
Justice Minallah further noted that the political leadership had to solve this problem as enforced disappearances were the worst form of torture.
About the judge’s mention of the book, PM Shehbaz said the one who started picking up people was a dictator – referring to Musharraf.
“My brother and I were also victims of that dictator’s policies,” he added.
Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar told the court that this was a 21-year-old issue, which could not be fixed in 10 days. He added that a permanent solution was possible only through dialogue.
PPP’s Farhatullah Babar told the judge that parliament had done its job in December 2015 and it believed that intelligence agencies were behind the disappearances.
The IHC CJ inquired the intelligence agencies were subject to whom. “Placing the responsibility on others has only made it worse. Everyone should play their role according to the Constitution,” he added.
On the occasion, human rights defender Amina Masood Janjua said the court had given a good judgment in the case of Mahira Sajid, the wife of missing information technology expert Sajid Mehmood.
However, she added that the then government had went to appeal.
“If the government withdraws those appeals, there can be improvement,” she maintained.
The IHC CJ replied that the court would decide the matter as per the Constitution.
The judge then allowed the prime minister to leave.
After his departure, the AGP argued that the court had imposed the responsibility of finding the missing persons on the prime minister, but it was actually them who would work to make this possible.
He added that the court should give them a chance and it would not be disappointed.
The law minister reiterated that the only solution to the problem was dialogue.
On the plea of the law minister, the court adjourned the hearing till November 14, giving the government two months to recover the missing persons.